Sunday, November 15, 2009

An Apple a Day-Lit Review

I read this on the treadmill, over a couple of weeks- you can tackle a couple chapters in your half-hour of cardio if you can read and run/walk at the same time. And this book is about the easiest one to read if you are challenging your cerebellum by running and reading at the same time. Dr. Joe Schwarcz (author) is not a medical doctor, is an amateur magician and advocate for popularizing science- so the language is direct, simplistic and so tongue in cheek I couldn't help laughing, or at least 'chortling' between breaths on the run.
The tag-line is 'a must read for anxious eaters'- but don't let that deter you from reading it. On the contrary, if you believe food is just that- food, then pick this book up. Dr. Joe holds his doctorate in Chemistry- not medicine. So he talks about food in it's elemental form- and straight up sends the message to just 'chill' when it comes to what you eat. Make good choices, don't fret about organic too much, don't fall into the traps of modern advertising about this argument or that argument for or against fat content in your diet (as an example).
Structurally the book is unique- he devotes each chapter to a unique concept; for example, there is an entire chapter on Tomatoes. I love that we can all identify what a tomatoe is, so of course we get what that chapter will address. Further, he doesn't force his opinion, but rather discusses various research (including the sordid, and sometimes almost pop-culture drama of the researchers) about the different topics in the book. You can arrive at your own conclusion before he lays down his own. Never intrusive, and always thoughtful.
Pick this up and give it a go- especially if you have read any of Micheal Pollan's books. They come from very different points of view, and I find the differences between them very intriguing. Pollan talks about food as a whole, and the dangers of 'nutritionism' (breaking things down into parts) while Dr. Joe breaks it all down for us.
When read together, a balance is quite nice to behold mentally- and you can make up your own mind. Which is why we read anyway- right? None of us has ever read a book and then fallen head-over-heels with the prophet writer's works?
I did of course, when I read Brendan Brazier's Thrive Diet, directly after reading "An Apple a Day"- with unhealthy results (indicative, I think, of following anyone's word to the letter). But that, my friends, if for the next literature review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Flexitarian: a semi-vegetarian diet focusing on vegetarian food with occasional meat consumption (Wikipedia).
Also, see this Newsweek article.
I realized my first week on the 'Weekday Vegetarian" concept that I could not take it literally. I didn't feel like eating meat when Saturday came around, but on Wednesday I had a scallop spinach salad. Worry about when I was going to have my 'meat-meal' was similar to the damaging concept of having a 'treat meal'. Any meal plan that restricts me makes me batty; I have to have choice. I have to feel better for eating better, not like I 'have' to.
I love the way I feel, and the fact that my skin has totally cleared of any pimples and all eczema since reduced, dramatically, the amount of meat I eat.
Growing up in "I Love Alberta Beef"-land, I was raised on eating meat in at least 2 meals a day- lunch and supper. Let me tell you, since I've eaten meat only 1-2 times a week for the last while, I've not missed out on anything.
If you're looking at trying to reduce your meat intake, try asking yourself why you eat meat- is it a habit? do you enjoy it? And then ask yourself if you'd like to try something new.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Weekday Vegetarian

TreeHugger is a great site, I've got them updating me on Twitter on their articles around sustainability, eco-conservation action and otherwise greeny stuff.
A week ago they 'tweeted' that this article was posted- Try a Weekday Vegetarian Diet: Eat Green Food Without Taking the Plunge.
The concept of eating a Vegetarian meal schedule during the weekdays, and only eating meat on the weekends has been flirting with me ever since. Really, it's been like that hot guy you noticed (before you were married) out of the corner of your eye, looking and smiling at you, but you just can't look him in the eye. I thought on it, then mentioned it to my husband (who could sustain himself on steak alone and be blissful), and even questioned my sister-in-law about introducing meat into my nephews diet (he's only 6 months old and his parents eat meat, of course they will eventually).
Well, no sense thinking about it if I don't flirt back; so it's Monday, and I've made a conscious effort not to eat meat today. Here's what a weekday could (and might, if I continue working it) look like:
Breakfast: 6 egg whites, spinach, tomato and a bowl of oatmeal
Mid-morning meal: 3/4c kidney beans and rice, and steamed vegetables
Lunch (normally my post-workout): 1 Vega shake
Mid-afternoon meal: raw vegetables
Supper: steamed vegetables, and a salad or vegetable soup
Hmmmm...I'm going to play with this possibility.
For more on Weekday Vegetarianism, and it's benefits for Mother Earth, check out Shannon and Parsnip Spaceship's blog.

Friday, October 9, 2009

If the Pilgrim Didn't Eat It

Image from Natural Home magazine's article on Harvest, Exchange, Celebrate Thanksgiving with Friends- a great article on how to share the bounty of the harvest at your celebration, including great, clean recipes.

I went surfing the internet to find motivation to maintain a clean Thanksgiving. I don't want to come back to the office on Monday hungover from sugar and alcohol, and itching my skin from indulging my allergies of dairy and gluten. So yea, I want to stick to a clean lifestyle, whether it's Thanksgiving or simply a Thursday.

And I began to think about what the original Thanksgiving dinner would have been, and how different it is from the feasts-of-plenty we may be fortunate enough to look forward to this weekend.

The original Thanksgiving feast was about as clean as you could get- maybe it was the fact that there were no trucks roaring across the country with pounds of sugar to sweeten their cranberries, or perhaps it was due to the fact that the concept of the pumpkin pie hadn't been mainstreamed yet. Cool whip wasn't around to top those slices of pie; and there is no evidence that they butchered a pig on the occasion.

Interestingly enough, it seems from this History TV article, and other information I ran across, the original menu was dairy (cow), egg and refined sugar-free. They had wheat flour in plenty, and so perhaps the celiacs in the small crowd should not have indulged in the bread, but there would have been corn bread for them anyhow.

Meat dishes ranged from wild fowl, to venison and even seafood. Seasonal vegetables like carrots, beets, peas, lettuces and radishes brought color to their table. (Note the absence of buttery or creamed corn).

Image from Supplemental Science's quick-list on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving.

Butter and cream cheese were not available; there had been no cows on the Mayflower. They would have opted for the lower-fat (and my fave) option of goat's milk cheese.

Desert would have been a light mix of fruit and nuts from the direct area. There were no buffets of multiple desserts to choose from (isn't there always an option or four for those who don't like pumpkin pie?)

So I have found my motivation- as I fill my plate (not heaping, and only once) this weekend I'll do so with whatever the pilgrims would have first placed on theirs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best-laid Plans: Sugar Free Intention

Hm. I give myself an F. Not for Failure, but for Flexibility. I flew to Vancouver for the weekend on an impromptu weekend getaway. And my sugar-free intention was set aside without guilt or punishment. The truth is, that the more I thought about my '18 day' commitment, the more I felt constrained, anxious and over-driven toward it. And these feelings are so conducive to resurrecting an old disordered eating and over-exercising habit.
I'm not eating sugar today. And I won't eat sugar tomorrow, or the next day. I feel a slight nagging that I dropped a commitment, but really, I think I've formed a new one. One I'm much more proud of, and can see myself following indefinitely.
I choose to eat a clean, healthy diet, which does not include sugar, sugar-alternatives or sugar-replacements. I choose this daily, until something better comes along (and when I mean better, it had better be a 10/10 possible gold stars of better- not just 'tempting'). I've got great will-power, and don't find too many things tempt me.
Eat what makes you happy, and be happy about what you eat...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sugar-Free Day 3 (am)

Wow! It's 6am and I've finished a 45min yoga sculpt class already this morning- what a rush. I haven't felt this rested, and energized in a morning for a while! I feel great! I am also watching my thoughts, and I'm manifesting more positive, confident thoughts, which is making me stand taller, and have more self-assurance. I feel like today I could walk into work and complete my job with enthusiasm, ambition and optimism.
Does sugar contribute to my self-depricating, and damaging thoughts? Could this be a link to my sad-sad days?
Stay tuned...oh and my headache is still just slightly there.

image from

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sugar-Free Day 2

Last night I went to bed very early with a splitting headache- not a dull ache,but a piercing, blurred-vision OUCH! headache; it was my first day of no sugar, and no sugar alternatives. And it was pretty clearly pronounced.
At 530 am my alarm range for my morning workout, and I hit the snooze button and went back to sleep, still with a slight headache, but mostly with a dizzy, foggy feeling.
Then mid-morning, at about 930 when I go to the gym for my break at work, I stayed in the office instead. I still had a headache, and the feeling that if I burned through any energy I had, I would be depleted and worsen my headache.
My appetite has been little to none over the last 2 days; I'm eating less at supper, and am making myself finish my afternoon meal of fresh vegetables and tuna.
So it's clear to me that my body is going through some changes. I haven't had any cravings, and have found the idea of diet pop, crystal light or other sweets entirely neutral. Just don't need 'em.
I've been eating according to my normal, clean schedule:
1/4c creamy rice or oats with 2Tbsp milled flax seed for breakfast
3oz chicken breast, 1/2c brown rice (no condiments)
1 vega shake
1 small can tuna, 6oz fresh carrots, peppers and cucumbers
3oz chicken breast/salmon/white fish and vegetables
I am drinking only water, and herbal caffeine-free tea through the day.
How about you? Are you cleaning up any sugar? Trying to stay away from aspartame, or other artificial sweeteners? Perhaps caffeine is your vice?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sugar-Free Commitment

Oh! Woe! Work has pillaged the village and burnt the crops of my healthy little lifestyle I've had going for me. The last week, and the upcoming 3 more are the sprint of my year. Trying to schedule even 30 minute breaks in my calendar to hit the gym is impossible. So I'm doing more in the mornings before work- mostly yoga and cardio. The treadmill is a great place to get your readings done for grad class.
Worse though, is the reaction my body is having to the un-nutritious food I've been ingesting over the last 6 days. Handfuls of wine gums, jelly beans and jube jubes during the day, and wine with clients in the evenings. I've resurrected my sugar addiction. This weekend I made a batch of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, and my husband and I finished them all off the two of us.
My skin is breaking out, my eczema is growing in severity, my scalp is dry, hair frizzy and energy levels at the lowest I've felt in years.
So it's fall clean-up time. For the next 18 days, I'm am committing to a sugar-free detox. Not a diet, but a new habit to replace my sugar reachings.
So here is how it's going to work:
No sugar: cut out the candy and baking
No sugar alternatives (honey, agave nectar, fruit): no sweetening my morning oats with these
No artificial sweeteners (Spenda, aspartame etc.): no diet pops or crystal light
I've done this before, and gotten off a sugar-craving cycle so I look forward to doing this. And hopefully, this will help me survive this upcoming hectic work schedule. Tightening my nutrition when I know I can't get the time to work out will help maintain a physique I commit to having.

Image from

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy in My Skin

Image c/o Barbara Goodwin of Wisdom Magazine Cover Art- This is her Feel Good mandala.

I've been feeling good lately-how about you? With the students back at it, my gym (located on a Uni campus) is packed. Last fall I enrolled in high-impact aerobic activity classes to avoid the gym rush. It suited my mood at the time, and re-established a reasonable workout schedule for me. I had only one class a day, so could only workout for a specific amount of time- it helped reduce over training.

This year I'm doing something entirely different, and it's suiting me perfectly for now. I bought a year, unlimited downloads membership from With their variety of 30, 45, 60 and 90 minute classes I can tailor every day depending on my energy level and time bank. I'm doing 30 min of a different yoga class every morning (great variety!) and 30 min cardio every weekday. On the weekends, I do longer sequences (60-90min) and take nice walks around the neighborhood with my husband. I'm weight training by doing yoga with weights, but am finding I'm maintaining muscle tone even by just doing vigorous vinyasa flows.

I'm getting happy in my skin again (check out this article from Yoga Journal to find tips to get happier in yours too!).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin

Tosca Reno posted this link on her facebook page this morning and if I were a bat, and she the ball, this would have been a grand slam. Perfect execution of hitting it out of the park when the universe throws it your way. Time Magazine's article: Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin.
Read this article.
This summer, I've been enjoying workouts again, and recently I even strayed so far as to change my routine drastically. And by change I don't mean switching training splits, or exercises in total body routines. I mean, transforming my intention for exercise. Why do I exercise? It's moving away from striving to get into my size 10's again and toward heart health (Cardio), flexibility and strength (yoga and weights)- and most importantly working out because I feel like it. It's holistic and for betterment of my mind and body. And as a result my nutrition has changed to support that intention- I am naturally eating less and eating more vegetables, because I feel like it.
I don't know if I'm thinning down, but I know that I'm feeling balanced, clean and happy. So don't kill yourself in the gym and then go down a high calorie, high sugar protein shake or meal. It's my experience and it's referenced in the article above, that rest, movement rather than 'workouts' and pure food are the keys to your ultimate health.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fitness on Vacation

Image from Canadian Living's article on How to Stay Fit on Vacation.

I jumped on a plane and followed my husband down to Utah for a week; he was in class all week and I was taking my time off to hang out. Over-planning is a weakness of mine which became crystal clear as I headed onto the open road towards the little town my husband was in. Following the I-??, I stuck to the map I had printed out from Google, and had backed up with a Utah map I had bought at the airport. Keeping my head on my map instead of my surroundings led me into the middle of nowhere where a sigh welcomed me to Wyoming and notified me there were no services for 100 miles. I was 2 hours east of where I should have been. I couldn't conceive how I ended up in the wrong state! I had planned this!

So I threw that damn map out and stopped by the first haphazard log cabin-type convenience store? (I use the term 'store' loosely but it was convinient). The women at the counter smiled a toothy grin from a shining face framed by stringy blond hair- her first (ever!) Pepsi machine had just arrived. I talked to her about where I was going and she gave me general directions- so I headed out again and felt my way south, through a beautiful national park to my original destination safely. Her happiness and kindness went with me.

That lesson on awareness set the standard for how my week on vacation went. Not only did I not use maps at all, choosing instead to follow my surroundings' cues to get me to my mountain trailheads every day, but I abandoned all the research I had done and planned events I had envisioned before I got there. I turned my awareness inward to what my body wanted from this week away and felt my way there. I talked to people everywhere and got their recommendations for hikes to do, shops to visit and restaurants to try.

So I encourage you to throw out your workout plan while on vacation, and instead commit to activity each day, but in a loose form. Commit to being fit, healthy and active and the opportunity will arise. Whether it's a swim in the fab pool at your hotel, or a brisk run on the city pathways you can explore- just get out there.

Feel your way to health, and you will get there (with less mileage on the rental car!)

As it turned out I got to experience a great new form of yoga with a reknowned teacher, and hiked the best of Utah everyday while I was away. I couldn't have planned that any better.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

30min Full Body Workout

Ah Summer! The season of fitness- all this gorgeous weather and outdoor pursuits. How to fit it all in? How to generate enough energy to do it all? Get your workouts in!

Try this Full Body workout for a quick 30 min hit:

Repeat entire sequence 3 times. Keep repetitions between 20-25 and use medium to light weights to get your heart rate pounding along with your iPod.
1. Incline Fly
2. Upright Row
3. Squat
4. Triceps Extension
5. Bicep Curl
6. Shoulder Press

Pumped this out in less than 30 min actually and got on with my busy work day. Feels so good.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Full Body Total Program

Image from, the lovely Tosca Reno. Go get her Eat Clean Diet for Men for great recipes (not only for the guys!)
After completing the last three weeks with Full Body 1, Full Body 2 and Full Body 3 , we're ready to combine them all in a dynamic, fun and challenging weekly program. There are so many combinations of this series, that you could continue with this thread for at least a couple more weeks before needing to switch it up.

This week, perform the following:
Monday- Full Body 1
Tuesday- 30 min steady state cardio
Wednesday- Fully Body 2
Thursday- 30 min steady state cardio
Friday- Full Body 3

There, that's it. Workout 5 days a week, about 30 minutes each. Switch it up and perform workouts 1, 2 and 3 on different days, making sure that there is one day of recovery or cardio between full body workouts.

I did one week with each of the full body workouts, then for the last 3 weeks have been mixing them together for different combinations (ie. Monday- Full Body 2, Wednesday- Full Body 3, Friday- Full Body 1) and have not gotten bored. Moreover, I've seen great changes in my physique. I've lost a lot of upper body (arm/back) and lower body (booty, thigh) fat. The full body workouts burn a ton of calories, so you're working out very hard. It is challenging, but what huge payoffs.

Now, I can't wait to begin planning my next workout plan, for the next 6 weeks. What will it be? Probably some derivation from my Oxygen mags.

Full Body 3

Image from Fitness Vancouver
The third piece of the 4 part puzzle that I've been putting together over the last 6 weeks or so. This is the third of three full body workouts that combine for one awesome strength-building, fat-burning program. This is a perfect workout for a woman who is short on time, but loves banging out a hard session when she can. The calorie-burning benefit of a total body workout, combined with the strength-building repetitions makes this a sure thing for seeing changes in your physique.
Perform three sets, with repetitions between 12-15 of each exercise one after another. Complete the entire program three times. It should take you approximately 25-30mins. Complete this three times a week, with cardio on alternate days.
Full Body Three modified from Pam Mazzuca's, Bsc. CAT(C) program in Oxygen Magazine.
Incline Fly
One-arm Row
Reverse Lunge
Front Raise
Triceps Dip
An excellent program, to round out the exercises in Full Body One and Full Body Two which I've done for the last weeks.
Onto putting it all together in the 1,2,3 week! See the next post for the last installment of this full body program series.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

How to Taste Coffee

Image from Starbucks
Coffee is more than a drink, more than a social playing card and more than your morning/afternoon/evening jolt. It's an experience. No, I'm not a connoisseur of coffee; I don't sit in grand cafes sipping different blends and postulating on the mild notes. I actually only enjoy 1 cup a week, on Sunday mornings with my husband. And that is why it's so much more, coffee is an experience.
How many of us keep wine journals? Documenting tasting notes, and vineyard information? Do you also add little sides about who we drank it with, and where we were? One could do the same for coffee. Maybe it's a standing date with your girlfriends every Sunday morning, or catching up with a colleague during the work week, your coffee is part of that conversation. Why not choose it with the same awareness we choose our wine? Per oz can be just as expensive, so why not savour it the same way?
Here's how:
1. Smell- Cup your hand over your coffee mug opening and inhale deeply through your nose. What do you notice? Describe the aroma.
2. Slurp- By slurping you spray the coffee across your entire palate, enabling the subtle flavours and aromas to reach all the tasting zones of your tongue.
3. Feel- As you taste the coffee, identify where you are experiencing the flavours on your tongue. Note the weight of the coffee on your tongue.
4. Describe- Use descriptive words to express the characteristics of the aroma, the flavour and the way the coffee felt in your mouth.

Aroma- The way the coffee smells. Descriptive terms for aroma can include earthy, spicy, floral, and nutty
Acidity- This is not the pH of the coffee, at least not directly. Acidity refers to the degree to which the coffee cleanses your palate. Are you left with a clear feeling on your tongue after a drink, or do flavours linger? Think of this as similar to eating a lemon, the lemon's acidity cleanses your palate.
Body- Body is the weight of the coffee, not the strength of the flavour as some assume. A light body will feel light in your mouth, while a full coffee will feel heavier. This is similar to the feel of skim milk versus homogenized milk in your mouth; skim is lighter while the thicker milk coats your mouth.
Flavour- The taste of the coffee. This is a combination of the aroma, acidity and body of the coffee.

Coffee can be paired with food, just like wine can. Try different combinations of coffee and chocolate, nuts, cheeses and fruits.

For more information on coffee tasting check out this very descriptive article.
Try it out for me. In the comment section I'm going to post my thoughts on tasting Starbucks' Casi Cielo coffee this morning in my coffee tasting lesson. Feel free to add yours once you've tried your next coffee.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to Lose Fat: Easy & Stress-free

A simple article on the fundamentals of getting healthy. This article is well-rounded with advice on training, nutrition and supplements from a 'real-girl' perspective. She advocates training 3 times a week, and eating clean; a program that is stress free is the only program that will work for you. If you find yourself stressed, anxious or worried about training or nutrition, then it's not the program for you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Full Body 2

Today's image from: Ask A Fitness Expert: How Do I Get Rid of Arm Fat?

Second week on my new total-body program instead of a split-body program and I'm feeling energized and strong. I love feeling the way my legs move as I'm walking now- I used to shut out the mind-body connection when I was outside the gym beacuse I HATED my body so much. I'm coming around.
So last week was three rounds of full body 1 on alternate days (tues/thurs/sat) and cardio on alternate days (30 min walk mon/30 min walk wed/60 min walk fri).
This week I'm into phase 2 of the program designed by Pam Mazzuca, Bsc. CAT(C) out of my Oxygen Magazine. Here it is:

Total Body 2 (25 minutes) Do each of these in succession (perform one set of each, one after the other) and repeat the entire giant circuit three times.
Dumbbell Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Row
Plie Squat
Lateral Raise
Triceps Kickback

Got my heartrate up and I really enjoyed a new routine this week. Mixing it up weekly has been keeping me engaged and excited. I hope to continue this good feeling. In fact, I've realized that in the past month, I've been working out to manage stress and anxiety and to feel better on the inside. This is different motivation than I had since January 2008 when I was working out soley for the purpose of external benefits. Could I be back in the saddle?

Missed the first week?
What's coming next week?
Wanna see the entire program?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

New Program- Full Body 1

My split routine for the last 8 weeks has really straightened out my exercise addiction- only once a day has become comfortable and reasonable again. I wasn't anxious or stressed about only exercising once a day and so I think a more healthy pattern of activity is starting to fit on me again. Gosh- more than a year after that fitness competition I'm finally getting back into a healthy, balanced schedule. It takes time to heal.
I'm now on a 6 week full body routine which alternates between 3 different total body circuits which I modified from one I found in an old Oxygen magazine. This one took slightly less than 30 min and got my heartrate going.
Total Body Workout 1
3x / week on alternate days, needs only dumbbells
Dumbbell squats
Push Ups
Bent Over Dumbbell Row
Shoulder Press
Hammer Curl
Jump rope (60 seconds)
Complete this entire circuit 3x one after another using 12-15 reps

Again this took less than 30 minutes, so when I was done, I hopped on the treadmill for some light, low impact cardio walking (20 min).

Wanna see the next week?
Or the week after?
How about the entire program?


What's better than a summer sale? Not much, especially when it helps you get into those summer skirts and tanks.
Check out for your discount membership prices until June 14!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Avocado Spread/Dressing

I use at least 2 avocados a week, making two separate batches. I started to use avocados to improve the health of my skin and hair in a dry climate. Ingesting more healthy fats is a great way to make your cracked skin, dry scalp and hair go away.
Avocado Spread/Dressing
1 whole ripe avocado (ripe when pressed firmly with your finger, it leaves an indent)
1/2 fresh lemon (fresh is much better than from-concentrate, and keeps the avocado spread greener, longer)
cayenne pepper, chili pepper and cumin to taste
Mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork or processor, add fresh lemon and mix to combine. Spice as you like with the suggested spices.
This creates a spread which is nice and spring-tasting on turkey burgers off the grill, or spread on cucumber slices lightly.
To create a wow-salad dressing, take 1 tsp of the spread above and mix with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and 1t more lemon juice. Mix together and sprinkle over several salads.

Why Willpower Won't Work

Wonder why you and I are slaves to those cravings? This article explains: Why Willpower Doesn't Work

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


This morning was a glorious workout; I actually breathed in and could feel my breath recharging me. I've become so numb lately due to stresses of work and home life. My husband got laid off almost 6 weeks ago which has negatively affected my nutrition goals; he's and I started treating ourselves more than usual. We've been consistent in our training, but using food to comfort and reward ourselves. I'm ready to leave that off.
Who is Bob? Bob helped me breathe deeper and see the sunlight shining brighter as I walked back to the office after my workout. Bob is a 78 year old friend of mine whom I used to see every single day at the gym in the morning, lifting iron after walking to and from the gym. I hadn't seen him in 6 months- he had cancer. He had survived chemotherapy and surgery and was back in the gym today for the first time, to get back into his schedule. He commented on his wife's health (sadly, not doing well from the stress of his diagnosis).
Looking into his beautiful, playful blue eyes I realized how excellent a person he was. His strength, kindness and mischievousness shone through.
What a gift to see Bob today. Only by being curious, lifting my head and smiling at the strangers around me did I ever build a relationship with him. What beautiful conversations are you missing today because your head is down and your life is 'too full'? Be curious and I guarantee you'll be inspired.

Back and Biceps

Fresh Training: Back & Biceps Training
Workout time: 25 minutes
Wide-grip pulldowns: 4 sets x 6 reps x 80lbs (Heavy)
One-arm dumbbell rows: 4 sets x 15 reps x 12.5lbs each arm
Barbell curl: 4 sets x 6 reps x 30lbs
Concentration curl: 4 sets x 15 reps x 7.5lbs each arm
A great workout, and in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes. I schedule my workouts in batch on Sundays, and I plan to do this split on days when I'm pressed for time.
Cardio: 30 min walk on treadmill 4.0 speed, 1% incline (decreasing incline to decrease muscle build-up in my legs and thighs)
This is the first day I've done two workouts in a day since beginning my new split program; I only did it because I have commitments this weekend so I can't do my Saturday cardio. Since I plan to do 3 cardio sessions a week, I move them around to ensure I get them in. Just because I can't get them in at the optimal time, doesn't mean I don't do them. This goes for daily timing as well; I believe that cardio is most effective in the morning on an empty stomach, but if I can't get out of bed to do it in the morning I don't let that stop me from doing it that day at all.

Meals Today:
1/8c creamy rice, 2T salba, 2T ground Flax, 6 egg whites, red pepper, tomatoe, 2c mate tea
3oz turkey burger patty, 1/2c rice and peas mix, 1t avocado spread (recipe later today)
3oz chicken breast, 1/2c rice and beans mix
3oz tuna, 8oz mixed raw vegetables
Supper- I don't know what I'll pick up at Planet Organic tonight, but it will be a nice treat- maybe some grilled tofu and a nice roasted vegetable salad. The meat-eater (husband) is out of town, so my suppers are mostly wonderful fresh vegetables.

Take good care of you today. You're all you've got.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Leg Training: Stregth

I'm using a new trainer, he's the most relentless, punishing and motivating trainer I have ever had: my husband. I had always shied away from mixing training and marriage, but gave it a try because I over-thought training as usual and he could offer a fresh, no-cost perspective. Do you train with your partner/spouse?
He's got me decreasing my training, because he could see I was over-doing again; a trap I fall into because I think nothing of spending hours in the gym during the day on top of a pre-breakfast workout. He can see it from a different focal point, and notices changes in my body sometimes before I do. Excellent qualities for a trainer to have; and also, he wants the best for me- to be happy and healthy. I can say that he has picked up some of Jillian Micheal's hard-core don't-quit diatribes which he enjoys spouting at me when I give up.

He picked a great program from my most recent Oxygen magazine. And here is what I did today for legs:
Duration: 35min Quads/Hams/Calves alternating Heavy/Light
Smith Machine Squats (70lbs, 4 sets, 6 reps) Heavy
Reverse Lunges (5lb Dumbbells, 4 sets, 15 reps) Light
Hamstring Curls (75lbs, 4 sets, 6 reps) Heavy
Deadlifts (20lbs, 4 sets, 6 reps) Heavy
Standing Calf Raises (5lb Dumbbels, 4 sets, 15 reps)
I'll increase my weight on a few of these next week; it's a new program so I'm testing my strength. I'm also just getting back into structured weight training after a hiatus into aerobics and interval (strength and cardio) training. Feels great to have legs so sore I can barely stand in my 3" heels at work after. Accomplished!

Cookies and Milk make me sad
Read this if you're curious whether your dairy and/or gluten intolerance contributes to any blue moods you have.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fresh: Meals and Training

Meals were simple this week, and free of any sugar, dairy or gluten. I really wanted to eliminate sugar this week, including fruit sugars. I've noticed they dry out my skin and I hold more water weight when I have fruit. Slower digesting carbohydrates are much nicer for a lean physique.
Meal 1: 6 egg whites (3/4cup), sauteed vegetables, 1/8c creamy rice, 2Tbsp ground flax, 2Tbsp salba, 2 cups mate tea
Meal 2: 3oz tuna with 1/2c kitcheree (mung beans and rice spiced with curry)
Meal 3: 3oz chicken, 1/2c acorn squash roasted with cinnamon on the grill
Meal 4: 2c raw vegetables (mixed ie: carrots, peppers, broccoli) and 3oz chicken or tuna
Meal 5: 2c cooked vegetables, 3oz chicken, fish or pork tenderloin

Training is amped this week to gear up for the upcoming spring and summer season! Doesn't it feel good to emerge from hibernation. There is a lightness of body I've experienced since the season turned lighter and warmer. So much easier to log those cardio hours.
Monday: 45 strength/cardio intervals DVD
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: 20 min Level 1 30 Day Shred, 40 min cardio
Thursday: 40 min cardio, 40 minute fitness class (strength and cardio)
Friday: 20 min Level 2 30 Day Shred, 40 min cardio
Saturday: 20 min Level 3 30 Day Shred, 40 min cardio
Sunday: 60 min yoga, 40 min cardio

Friday, March 27, 2009

Total in Ten: Women's Health DVD

Amy Dixon is my new favorite fitness personality. After purchasing her Ultimate Fat Burn workout, which professes to burn 500 calories in one session, I was hooked on her upbeat, but driving style. She's direct and clear in her descriptions of the workouts. I had to get more from her. After reading all of the reviews of several DVD's I bought Total Workout in Ten. This morning I did the cardio drill (10 minutes) twice for 20 minutes of HIIT.
This DVD is at an intermediate level but there are modifications for those requiring lesser impact, or a slower pace. Divided in to 4 different workouts (Cardio, Upper Body, Lower Body, Flexibility) this DVD delivers the total package. I will do the entire DVD through for total body conditioning, but will use the 10 minute cardio segment in succession up to 3 times for a great cardio workout in 10, 20 or 30 minute intervals. Get this DVD so you have a flexible, customizable workout option in your library. Behind her Ultimate Fat Burn workout, this is currently the best DVD I own.

Epicure Selections: Gluten-free spice mix review

On my sister's birthday I arrived at her home to take her out to dinner, and while I was not looking she cleverly hid 2 gifts for me in my purse- yes she is chronically generous. I love them and thank you lil' sis.
She is conscious of my gluten intolerance and kindly made sure that these did not have any at all- she loves me so.
Curry Dip Mix (Gluten Free)
A mild curry which is perfect for mixing into fat free sour cream, or plain yogurt for a vegetable or chip dip. I've also used this in mashed yams and soup bases already to create a nice compliment between sweet and savory. I highly recommend getting this versatile spice in your cupboard. It's totally free of any processed products or petro by-products. It, like many spices of course, is vegan friendly.
Verde Vinaigrette (Gluten Free)
This is fantastic- flavorful and green (verde)! When mixed with your favorite oil (I use a high-grade olive oil) and balsamic vinegar (again, higher grade is better for salad dressings) it freshens and adds spirit to your greens. I've actually created a little jar to have on hand all the time, using a glass mason jar, I've added this combination of green herbs to my olive oil and vinegar to have on demand. It's that good.
Have both of these ready to dress up your crudites or greens for spring. It's that time of year! Fresh food is always better.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fresh Weekly: Training

Monday: 20 min Heart Opening Flow yoga from, 30min uphill treadmill walk
Tuesday: 20 min Gentle Hatha yoga, 40 minute fitness class (strength and cardio)
Wednesday: 20 min Level 1 of 30 day Shred (Jillian Micheals) DVD, 20 min Power Yoga
Thursday: 20 min Morning Flow yoga, 40 minute fitness class (strength and cardio)
Friday: 20 min Detox yoga, 20 minutes Total Workout in Ten cardio segment
Saturday: 45min Blast Fat Boost Metabolism Cardio/Strength intervals DVD (Jillian Micheals), 20 min yoga of choice
Sunday: 45min Cardio Blast (The Biggest Loser), 60min yoga of choice

30 Day Shred Level 1 Review: This 20 minutes was at a beginner capacity. It felt good for an active session, but at a low enough level to begin to understand what this DVD will deliver. I will alternate between levels 1, 2 and 3 depending on the day and what my body tells me I can do with it on that day. A good workout incorporating strength and cardio intervals. Make sure you have hand weights, and an exercise mat for this one. I would definitely recommend incorporating this into your regular strength and cardio weekly routine. 20 minutes every morning before breakfast will go a long way towards your bikini-ready body fro the summer.

Fresh Weekly: Meals

So my new favourite thing is doing my grains on the stovetop- it's so much easier to watch them bubble and boil while I make our eggs than to keep an eye on both the microwave and the stovetop. The texture is creamier and they are much reduced in size so I don't feel like I'm eating way too much. Not sure why they seem larger with the same measured portions when cooked in the microwave. Anyway, here are what my meals looked like this week:

6 egg white omlette with vegetables, 1/8c creamy rice cereal with 1/2 banana, 1 mug hot tea (in this picture it's coffee as I treated myself to one).
My mid-morning meal was the same as ever- 1/2c beans and rice combination (no picture.)
My lunches are fresh and juicy as I'm trying to convince spring to come out, come out, wherever you are!!!
Meal 4 or afternoon snack was my beloved 1/2c cottage cheese sided by fresh vegetables (about 1 1/2c or 6oz).
Finishing off the day with a warm meal is so satisfying. I've also gotten in the habit of making tea the second I walk in the door from work to ward off the post-work anxiety snacking one can do between getting off work and making supper. Supper was a variation of the combination of lean protein (chicken breast or white fish) with vegetables. This time I sauteed my vegetables, and then added soup base to make a bowl of soup, sided by some interesting Kimchai or Chinese broccoli.
That's a fresh summary of what I'm eating, or roundabouts, this week.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fresh Training: Day 14 Yoga Challenge

Today's training feels so good. My second workout is in jeopardy as my husband, for the first time in the 10 years that I have known him, has the flu. I may have to get home early to care for him (it's fun to play a doting wife when he lets me).
I am thrilled to continue HIIT training. From 530-600am I did the following on the treadmill:
0-5 min: Uphill walk 4.0 speed, slight incline warm up
5-25 min: Intervals between 4.0 speed (walk) 60 seconds and 7.0 speed (sprint) 60 seconds
25-30 min: Flat walk 4.0 speed cool down

I followed up with Core Yoga from as part of CarrotsNCake's 31 day Yoga Challenge. This 20 minute session demands a lot from your core, as well as your upper body. I have good upper body strength from years of weight training, and I train abs in my 40min fit class twice a week and still had to push HARD to get through the poses. Really warms up your body; perfect for the morning.

Benefits of 14 days on the 31 day Yoga Challenge:
  • My husband commented that my temper has ceased, and he feels like he's "getting his wife back" after being wound tight with stress for weeks
  • Greater flexibility during stretching segment of my 40min fitness class
  • Heightened awareness of form during weight training sessions; doing lunges yesterday I was keenly aware of my knee positioning over my toes and could adjust to ensure a pain-free training session.
  • I feel like me again too; I find situations less stressful, and can find myself thinking on the positive end of many situations again. I'm definitely laughing more too.

Pumpkin Stovetop Oats

Happy first spring day! It's so nice and sunny; I think that the earth is letting us know that she can still take good care of us.
Fresh Meals:This is my regular break-feast: 6 egg whites scrambled with mushrooms and peppers with a bowl of hot grains. Today my grains were stovetop uncontaminated oats with pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) and raisins. TiP: Cook 1/2c uncontaminated oats on the stove over medium heat with 2c water. When oats are partially cooked add in the pumpkin, sprinkle in flax and salba. Turn off heat, cover and let sit. This picture really shows the creamy goodness that is stovetop oats.
At 10am I ate my 1/2c beans and rice combo- same as last week. No picture.
Lunches this week have been big green iceberg letter salads with peppers topped with 3oz chicken breast diced. Sticking to about 1Tbsp vinaigrette to top. My post workout snack has been a wonderful collection of mixed fruits, normally with lunch as I eat it after my pm workouts.
Afternoon meal has been brussel sprouts roasted with garlic and balsamic vinegar and 1/2c cottage cheese (1%)-I love this meal. Good veggies, and I love cottage cheese. Suppers have been the standard chicken or white fish with vegetables. Last night I got a little creative because I was feeling lazy. So I had a yellow pepper filled with shredded chicken with bbq sauce and raisins with fresh tomatoe wedges on the side. As spring approaches, I crave more raw vegetables and fresh flavours rather than the rich warm flavours of the winter and autumn.

What flavors do you incorporate more during the spring?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

High Intensity Interval Training

This morning marked my first running workout since I dropped out of marathon training to help my metabolism recover from my fitness competition- and it felt freakin' fantastic. Here is my beginning treadmill HIIT training this morning:

0-5 min- warm up at 50% RPE (RPE is your rate of percieved exertion, so warm up at 60% of your full capacity). For me this was a light walk, uphill at 4.0 speed
5-25min- 1 minute intervals alternating between sprints and walks. My walking speed maintained at 4.0 speed, with a slight incline to help avoid shin splints and sprints increased in speed from 75% RPE (about 5.0 speed) to 90% RPE (about 7.0 speed) and then back down to 75% RPE before cooling down
25-30min cool down as warm up

This is a workout to ease me into HIIT training again. There are some great interval workouts here:
30 s interval workout
60 s interval workout
Each workout type has different levels for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Definitely check out if you're looking to start HIIT or are looking for good ideas to mix yours up.

I plan to alternate between 30s and 60s intervals in the future to keep my body in a state of gentle shock to accelerate fat loss.

Fresh Weekly

So I'll be back with pictures as soon as I put batteries in my camera; I know-lame excuse. But that's ok because I am totally lame (really- ask all my friends).
My meals for the last three days have been as follows:
  • 6 egg whites, 1/8c creamy rice cereal, 2T salba, 2T ground flax, 2T agave nectar, 2c mate tea
  • 1/2c brown rice mixed with black beans topped with 2T salsa
  • 2c mixed salad greens with peppers and tomatoes, 3 oz chicken
  • 1.5c mixed fruit salad with berries, bananas, melon and apples
  • 6oz vegetables (mixed raw or cooked) with 1/2c 1% cottage cheese
  • 3oz chicken breast with vegetables
  • I also went off my meal plan last night and had one chocolate pumpkin muffin from the batch I made for my husband's office. Bad choice as they were not gluten free and I feel sick to my stomach today for it.
My training for this week is going on as planned:
Sunday: 45 plyo/strength training and 60 minutes power yoga
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 20 minutes Power Yoga, 40 min strength/cardio class
Wednesday: 20 min HIIT with 5 min warm up and cool down, 20 min morning flow yoga
Thursday: 20 min Core Yoga, 40 minute strength/cardio class
Friday: 20 min HIIT with 5 min warm up and cool down, 20 min detox yoga, 30 min uphill walk
Saturday: 45 min plyo/strength training, 20 min yoga
Sunday: 20 min HIIT, 60 min yoga

Monday, March 16, 2009

8 to Great Success

Ran across this from Chris Morgan at Learn2Develop; he posted this great video from TED. It's Richard St. John's 3 min vid about what makes success- from years of research and thousands of interviews with successful people.

The weekend went very well with 2 training sessions, and sticking to my yoga challenge. Yesterday's yoga was a 90 minute power session which left my legs really sore today.
My meals were the same as every other day, but I indulged in some treats over the course of Friday to Sunday. These included
-1/2c trail mix
-Haagen Daaz coffee ice cream
-3 cadbury creme eggs (yes, they are my favourite candy-ever! so I went overboard)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Presto Pesto!

Just finished my 40 min fitness class- today we did everything from aerobic drills, weighted upper and lower body work, including handweights, bosu balls and elastic tubing. We get a lot done in 40 minutes! Lunch greeted me when I returned to the office: Balsamic glazed salmon (about 3oz) and 1.5c Pesto'd Squash, and cantaloupe for my post-workout glucose. This was a pesto week because I had a ton of fresh basil and garlic to use up. So I grabbed Choppy (my food processor) and stuffed it full of basil leave, 4 cloves of garlic, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2c pecans (I don't like pine-nuts) and 1/2c light parmesean cheese. After several go-rounds I had about 1.5c fresh pesto to use on everything this week.Breakfast after my 20 min Morning Flow from was the regular omlette/fritatta and creamy rice + grains spread.
At about 1000am I got to my beans/rice combo topped with salsa today. Have to keep eating at regular intervals to hopefully convince my metabolism to begin working again (after a long long 10 months of recovery from my fitness competition).
This afternoon will feature my lovely crisp crudites starring tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and yellow peppers with balsamic vinaigrette for flavour. Sided by my cottage cheese (1/2c) sprinkled with cinnamon.
No pictures of supper tonight- it was the same as last night- squash, mushrooms, chicken and pesto!
So the standard 5 meals, between 200-300 calories with the exception of breakfast being more. No snacking at night; fill that need with hot tea or diet soda instead. Making sure I get at least 4L of water in me. I'm feeling good and didn't hate my reflection in the mirror at class today.

Marriage-Facebook Tag

I was tagged in a friend's Marriage survey; I'm only going to do this once and so will post it here:
Marriage (From facebook tag)
What are your middle names? Jade and Chadsey
How long have you been together? 5 years, married for 2.5
How long did you know each other before you started dating? 8 years
Who asked who out? He asked me
Whose siblings do you see the most? We're lucky, we see both
Do you have any children together? No, and will not
What about pets? No, and will not. We are one another's pets.
Did you go to the same school? Same high school, different Uni's
Who is the most sensitive? Me, by far
Where do you eat out most as a couple? We're limited; he kyboshes a lot of my choices to help me avoid gluten.
Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Who has the craziest exes? Neither of us. Our exes are fine people and are not crazy- sincerely.
Who has the worst temper? Me- red hot hot temper.
Who does the cooking? Me, 6 meals a day, 7 days a week.
Who is more social? He is very energized through other people; I tend to hide
Who is the neat freak? He is.
Who is the most stubborn? He is. But by answering that way, I think I indicate that I am.
Who hogs the bed? He does. But he can't help it- he's a big, muscle-y guy.
Who wakes up earlier? Me. It's my time; and I think he would die if he awoke before 6am.
Where was your first date? Movie theater, watching "Finding Nemo"
Who has the bigger family? He definitely does- a big Dutch family.
Do you get flowers often? Yes, right now I have some lovely purple ones
Who eats more? He does, but I'm close behind him. Him more meat, me more veggies
Who sings better? He is a great singer, very few people know that.
Who does the laundry? He does, and is great at it.
Who’s better with the computer? He is- it's his job. You would not believe our home office- two huge screens, and more computing power than his network at work. And, he's paranoid, so it's super secure.
Who drives when you are together? He does, but hates it as the car is too small. When we get the new one he won't let me I'm sure.
Who picks where you go to dinner? I pick one, he says no and chooses another. For my own good I'm sure.
Who is the first one to admit when they’re wrong? Me, but I don't do it often enough. I'm wrong a lot.
Who wears the pants in the relationship? He does. A woman is more powerful in a hot skirt- and I wear a lot of skirts.
Who has more tattoos? I do
Who eats more sweets? I do, biggest sweet tooth I know of.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Red Break-Feast

The Lunar flow last night from as part of Trina's 31 Day Yoga Challenge was a boon in a time I needed it. After getting testy with my husband, I turned on the 20 minute session and chilled right out- he appreciated that. Even after snapping his head off before the session, he sat watching me twist and unwind and said "You look so beautiful doing that" awesome is he?
My break-feast (like my new word?) this morning ran along my favourite color theme-Red! Color of passion, boldness, and the Chinese flag (word to my homeland- hahaha). My nails are even bright red right now. Break-feast was a 6 egg white omlette with red peppers and tomato, sauteed with Lee Kum Kee's chili garlic sauce and a little ketchup to top. Followed by my bowl of grains including ground rice, flax and Chia flour (I'll review the flour soon). I also had a mug of my favourite Guyaki Choclate Mate tea.
My mid-morning snack was a 1/2c beans and rice topped with bbq sauce; you can see a little frost in the picture because it came out of the freezer before making it into my lunch.
A butter-lettuce salad with ground turkey and salsa, with an apple for dessert was lunch.
I love cottage cheese! My dad used to put Kraft's onion soup mix into it as a cracker dip when we were young. Now I can't have the crackers or the dip mix, but the cottage cheese still brings back memories of Dad and us kids. I also enjoyed the crunch of my fresh vegetable medley (about 6oz of combined carrots, broccoli and tomaotoes).
Almost-Chicken, Mushroom Alfredo was for supper. Spaghetti squash tossed with pesto, garlic sauteed with chicken and mushrooms. Add a couple tablespoons of fat free plain yogurt for a creamy texture.
Fresh Today: Training
20 minutes core yoga from a beginner level class that requires one to use a lot of upper body and core strength, combined with leg lengthening and toning expansions. The back bends at the end really stretch your spine. I will purchase their 90 minute class to use as strength training in the future.
What healthy food brings back childhood memories or feelings for you?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fresh Tuesday: Meals and Training

The 'spring ahead' time change, combined with about -24C weather forced me to remain asleep this morning and I missed my morning yoga flow- so tonight I'll use's Lunar flow instead- a good opportunity to try it out (lookin' on the sunny side- always on the sunny side).
I began today with my biggest meal of the day; a bowl of grains including ground rice, salba and flax (homemade), a 6 egg white omlette with red pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes with salsa and a cup of mate tea.
Mid day I was hosting a conference call and felt self-concious pulling out my beans and rice with bbq sauce while hosting corporate guests for a province-wide meeting. So I pulled out my apple chunks which I had saved for my post-workout instead, and ever the hostess, I sheepishly offered my guests some apple from my ziploc container (urgh! I know). But that just opened the door for my guests to pull out their protein shakes and bars to eat comfortably with me. They packed their own snacks but were waiting for an appropriate time to have them. I'm so glad I created a space where we could all get our nutrition in, while discussing business.
Next was my 40 minute fitness class- an excellent workout. I returned to the office ravenous and ate my lunch which included 3oz grilled balsamic glazed salmon and garlic roasted brussel sprouts and mushrooms with my rice and beans from earlier. I hestitated and almost didn't eat my rice- but I have to be careful to eat all my calories for the day. I cannot begin starving myself or straying from my planned meals again. Straying means both not eating all the food I have planned, as well as eating food that's not on it. Lastly at work I finished my afternoon snack after my meetings; 1/2c 1% cottage cheese, 6oz mixed raw vegetables (tomatoes, broccoli, carrots).
Supper was grilled chicken breast with fresh pesto and chili-sauteed green beans. I also grabbed 2 medjool dates on my way in the door before supper was ready. I was starved.
Fresh Today: Training
40 min fitness class (strength and cardio)
20 min lunar yoga flow from

Goodnight- finishing an episode of Desperate Housewives with my husband!